Spiritual History of UW-Madison

Upper House Events

16-11-2023 • 38 mins

The spiritual history of UW-Madison is deeper, richer, and more complex than most people know. Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches located around the campus? Did you know that most of the early dorms had chapels? Have you noticed the religiously-themed plaques on buildings, or the statue in honor of Abraham in the Humanities’ building courtyard? The more you look, the more you see, and the more you might marvel.

From the early president, John Bascom, to professors, administrators, and thousands of students, up to today, UW has been home to many whose faith influenced their lives and university work, and vice-versa.

Through archival research and interviews, Upper House’s Director of University Engagement, Dan Hummel, has recovered religious facts and themes that thread through UW-Madison’s entire history. Undertaken as part of the Higher Pursuits Project, with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, Upper House sought to create original research and present it in ways accessible to the wide university community, telling the ongoing story of spiritual and religious expression at UW-Madison. In recovering this story—and sharing it through written, video-, and audio-recorded means—we aim to illuminate ways spiritual inquiry and practice have been vital to UW’s identity in the past and can continue to help the campus thrive in the future.

About our speaker:

Dan Hummel is Director of University Engagement at Upper House. Dan received his PhD in history from UW-Madison, and his writings on American religion and politics have appeared in Christianity Today and the Washington Post. His forthcoming book is The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle Over the End Times Shaped a Nation(Eerdmans Press, 2023).

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This event recording is from March 1, 2023.

You can find a full video recording on our YouTube page (https://youtu.be/IELtEHRsceE?si=yyCZpDoSW_mKgMkm)

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